Upon passing the Qualifying Exam, it is expected that students will choose a Ph.D. thesis advisor, if they have not already done so, and begin their Ph.D. thesis research. Within 12 to 18 months of passing the QE, the student needs to select a Ph.D. Thesis Examination Committee and schedule his or her Ph.D. Proposal Defense.

The Ph.D. Proposal Defense consists of 1) a written part and 2) an oral presentation to the Ph.D. Thesis Examination Committee.

  1. The written part consists of an introduction to the field, a problem statement, the objectives of the research and the approach that will be taken, the expected results, and a timeline of the work. A concise review of the literature is expected, along with a bibliography of the most important literature. The length of the written Ph.D. Proposal is expected to be between 15 to 20 double space pages (12pt font) with 1 inch margins.  Members of the Committee should receive the proposal two weeks prior to the defense.
  2. The Ph.D. Proposal will be presented to the Ph.D. Thesis Examination Committee during a one hour defense/ examination. The student should plan for a 30 minute presentation of the research plan and expected results.

One week prior to your proposal defense, please notify the MSE Chair, Dr. JC Zhao.

See Also: Ph.D. Requirements and Ph.D. Qualifying Exam